Low alcohol drinks are continuing to engage consumers as people look to make healthier choices, or still enjoy social drinking but are looking to reduce their alcohol consumption.

A recent DrinkWise study found that 32 per cent of those who decreased their alcohol consumption since the start of the pandemic attributed the decrease to lower- and zero-alcohol products.

Another factor leading this growth in low alcohol drinks is the improving technology that is helping improve the quality of the drinks, with the IWSR stating earlier this year that product innovation is helping to drive category growth.

One company making the most of improving technology to drive innovation is Treasury Wine Estates, makers of iconic Australian wines including Pepperjack, which has shared plans to invest in a new state of the art low alcohol production facility.

Following the success of its award-winning Wolf Blass Zero range in 2021, and other popular NOLO ventures across its portfolio of brands, the winemaker and distributor aims to support consumers looking to moderate their alcohol intake. And now joining the category is leading Australian shiraz maker Pepperjack, which has come to market recently with its new Mid-Strength Shiraz.

In developing the new wine Pepperjack’s winemaking team have retained the rich taste of the original Pepperjack Shiraz at a lower strength of seven per cent ABV. As demand continues to increase for NOLO options, Pepperjack aims to change the perception of low strength wines by delivering a full flavour experience.

“Building on our NOLO offering with Pepperjack Mid-Strength Shiraz cements our commitment to customers,” said Peter Neilson, Managing Director of Treasury Premium Brands. “It’s a wine that stays true to the heritage of Australia’s favourite Shiraz, offering a lighter alternative without compromising on taste.”

“We’re leveraging our premium winemaking credentials, global reach and diverse portfolio of brands – we’re in a unique position to lead in this growing segment.”

With half the alcohol content of its original counterpart, Pepperjack put the taste of its Mid-Strength Shiraz to the test with its new ‘Dad Test’.

Influencers around the country, including AFL player Max Gawn and radio host Brittany Hockley, conducted the ‘Dad Test’ on their own dads to support the launch. Staying true to its tagline – ‘the mid-strength that doesn’t taste like one’ – most couldn’t tell the difference between the full strength and mid strength wines.

Richard Mattner, Pepperjack’s Winemaker, spoke of the lower strength wine and its qualities. “It strikes a balance between the art of traditional winemaking that Pepperjack is renowned for, and the science of cutting-edge de-alcoholisation and flavour retention technology.”

“Still bursting with quintessential Pepperjack character, this mid-strength wine displays aromas of blackberries and plums with hints of pepper and spice. The palate is rich, round and soft with concentrated berry fruits and soft velvety tannins. All the best bits of Pepperjack but 50 per cent lighter in alcohol compared to the original Pepperjack Shiraz.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.